Writing Glitch #420

Today’s first glitch:

Apostrophes aren’t for plurals (almost all the time), but they are for possessives (except pronouns, of course). Unless you intend to say this character has more than one mind, you need an apostrophe before the s in minds. (Even if you do intend to say that, you need an apostrophe, just after the s instead of before it, but why do the multiple minds have only one eye between them? *shakes head*)

There’s a typo, too. Did you catch it?

Do not use an em dash where there is neither an abrupt change in direction or an interruption. Replace the dash after motherly with either a colon (in the “more information/explanation follows” usage) or a comma.

As it is used in this example, however is an interrupter. Interrupters need to be separated from the rest of the sentence with commas (or only one comma if it falls as the first or last word). Add a comma before however.

When referring to words as the words themselves, use italics, not quotation marks. Get rid of the single quotes around Lady Manure and Lady Muck (notice the corrected capitalization!) and italicize these instead.

In her mind’s eyes, she was helpful and motherly: the perfect neighbor. The locals, however, saw her as a nuisance and a meddler, and dubbed her Lady Manure, or Lady Muck for short.


About Thomas Weaver

I’m a writer and editor who got into professional editing almost by accident years ago when a friend from university needed someone to copyedit his screenplay about giant stompy robots (mecha). Having discovered that I greatly enjoy this kind of work, I’ve been putting my uncanny knack for grammar and punctuation, along with an eclectic mental collection of facts, to good use ever since as a Wielder of the Red Pen of Doom. I'm physically disabled, and for the past several years, I’ve lived with my smugly good-looking twin Paul, who writes military science fiction and refuses to talk about his military service because he can’t. Sometimes Paul and I collaborate on stories, and sometimes I just edit whatever he writes. It's worked out rather well so far. My list of non-writing-related jobs from the past includes librarian, art model, high school teacher, science lab gofer… Although I have no spouse or offspring to tell you about, I do have six cats. (The preferred term is "Insane Cat Gentleman.") I currently spend my time blogging, reading, editing, and fending off cats who like my desk better than my twin’s.
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3 Responses to Writing Glitch #420

  1. Sheron says:

    Why comma before and as it’s a compound verb?


    • The comma is there for clarity. Although commas are not always used for compound predicates, sometimes one needs to be included so the parts of the predicate don’t blur into each other.


  2. curioushart says:

    She sounds like a woman C. S. Lewis described as “the kind of woman who lives for others; you can tell them by their hunted looks.” (I think it was Lewis that wrote that.)


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